Vera Jane Simpson Smith was born March 12, 1918, In Rushtown, Ohio and graduated from North high school in 1936. She came to Akron as a child where she remembered arriving in Akron on a train with her Mom. She became a Master musician of the Hammond organ, and a drummer early on. She knew Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa. Making her career in music she entertained many residents in many local dinner clubs, including Seven Gables, The Manicoor Club, The Harbor Inn, Karams, and Nick Anthes restaurant for over 30 years. She was the founder Of the Akron Women’s Guild, a society to save the Lowe’s Theater pipe organ, in the 1960’s and 1970’s. She often played that organ, and owned the first Professional Hammond Organ and Leslie Speaker combo in Akron. She leaves behind three children: Judith Undercoffer Snider, Jill Undercoffer Drapcho, Larry John Lallo, as well as grandchildren, Theodore Scott Snider, Thomas Michael Snider, Roger Aaron Snider, Michael Jason Drapcho, Barbara Leigh Drapcho and Jason Burdette Lallo.
Vera led a notable life. With a strong underlying faith in Jesus Christ as did her sister, Lacy. Vera had a close relationship with her sister Lacy (Bernice) Blackerby. They were very close. They played together in one of Akron’s first all-girl bands and Akron’s radio statation WADC and at local clubs. They spent many years of fun summers canoeing on Portage Lakes. Vera loved Portage Lakes. Her and Lacy her sister, were featured in the Akron Beacon Journal with a story and picture of them towing in a disabled motorboat with their canoe! Vera also played music at the Harbor Inn and played organ at the Chippewa Lake Amusement Park Ballroom. Vera loved the water, boats, ships and trains. And used to take the family on the largest ever ferry and cruise ship on the Great Lakes known as the Aquarama. Vera was featured in the Akron Beacon Journal when she purchased a US Navy cadet training vessel, had it sent via a flatbed truck to The Ohio River, and then took it up river to be berthed in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. Vera was married and widow of Gerald B Smith, founder of the Highlander Golf range formerly located on East Cuyahoga falls Ave in Akron. One of the premier Golf ranges in the Country.
Vera was living in Cocoa Florida in her recent years with her son and daughter-in-law Susan.
Vera will be missed. However, she is at home with the Lord and that is where she can be found.
Graveside funeral service and interment will be held on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. at Chestnut Hill Cemetery in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
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